Today was a special day, because thanks to a very kind donation, we were finally able to go ahead with renovations on an enclosure for one of our Sclater’s guenons, Obugu Fine. Obugu Fine lived with his best friend Ben for over 12 years, until we lost Ben to illness at the end of last year. Initially we left Obugu alone in the enclosure they had shared, as its design did not allow for slowly adding a new friend and we had no other free enclosures where we could rehouse him.
A couple of months ago, Obugu was becoming very lonely and we finally managed to free up some space and move him to an older enclosure closer to other animals and with more potential for an introduction. Unfortunately, whilst this enclosure had two parts making it ideal for our purposes, one part needed extensive repairs. We were therefore forced to place our plans on hold pending funding and restrict his movements to the good side of the enclosure.
Whilst primate rehabilitation is the cornerstone of our project and has impacts that extend well beyond the welfare of the individual animals we save, it is by far the most difficult aspect of our work to fund. The global financial crisis has made it harder than ever before to undertake the constant construction and repairs needed at our sanctuary and so a donation like the one made for Obugu means the world to us. Thanks to this generous personal donation, we have been able to buy all the wood, platforms, mesh, nails and other materials we needed to go ahead with our plan. After we repair the enclosure, Obugu Fine can not only enjoy all the extra space, but also the company of female Sclater’s guenon, Braylee! We will keep you updated on the progress of the introduction over the coming months.
If you would like to help our primate rehabilitation programme and the 170 animals in our care, please consider donating today.
With the globally recognised ‘Year of Biodiversity’ upon us CERCOPAN (Centre for Education, Research and Conservation Of Primates And Nature) has been preparing it’s annual environmental awareness rally based on this biodiversity theme. Every year we have organised the ‘mid-year Calabar festival’ as it has come to be known, with the help of international and local organisations and businesses including Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens, the Ministry of Environment, Cross River Forestry Commission, etc. With a different theme each year, this gives us and national environmental government agencies the chance to spread important environmental messages in a fun and colourful manner across the state!
With televised broadcasts and over 5000 children participating in previous years, CERCOPAN has covered topics such as ‘Bushmeat can be dangerous meat’, Don’t allow our forests to become empty’, and ‘Wildlife; our heritage’. School participation is one of the main methods we use to get children thinking more about the conservation messages we deliver during our year long outreach programme to over 50 secondary and 20 primary schools. Competitions are carried out and this year we have three: a cleanest school competition to help improve the surrounding areas of local schools; a drama competition where schools are filmed acting out a 15minute sketch based on this year’s theme (the top three will perform on the day); and finally, the favourite among schools, the carnival procession, where schools are judged on the creativity of the parade and its relationship to biodiversity. Competition winners receive prizes to support the expansion of the school and the purchase of new equipment to be used by the children.
Personally, I am very excited about the day. It is the grand finale of all of our years environmental education work and witnessing children who have grasped the conservation messages we have taught and have a newfound passion for conservation and wildlife gives our whole team a huge feeling of accomplishment. It is also an opportunity to attract media and political attention to the cause so that our conservation messages are spread even further afield and have greater impact.
If you feel passionately about the environment and would like to support this wonderful event, your donations are most welcome. As 2010 is the international year of Biodiverity we want, more than ever before, to make this a special day to remember!